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No extradition for Assange

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 am, January 5th, 2021 - 104 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, activism, censorship, community democracy, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, democratic participation, Dirty Politics, human rights, iraq, journalism, making shit up, Media, Spying, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags:

Great news. While unexpected, Nicky Hager who was an expert witness for Assange at the trial, thought this might be a possibility when he spoke to the Fabian Society in November. More details tomorrow.

Justice Baraitser has refused extradition on the grounds that possible confinement in a US high security prison would be likely to lead Julian Assange to commit suicide. Nils Melzer the UN special rapporteur on torture said the same thing about his confinement in Belmarsh Prison. In all other respects the judge accepted the arguments of the US-led prosecution.

It is likely that in the end that had she allowed extradition Baraitser would have been a pariah in the UK legal fraternity, so a pretext was found to allow the prosecution argument to stand but not be effective.

This is not a victory for press freedom, but is a victory for all those who have stood up for Assange, for Wikileaks and for fearless investigative journalism. Sadly that has not included most of the mainstream press in the US and the UK, and also it must be said in New Zealand.

In my opinion the best commentary has been found in the blogs – Consortium News, Caitlin Johnstone, Craig Murray to name a few. Also a shout out to Alex Hills and her friends at FreeAssangeNZ.

The US has announced it will appeal. Assange’s request for bail will be heard on Wednesday.

104 comments on “No extradition for Assange ”

  1. Pierre 1

    All the time Assange was under asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy the liberal press assured us that he should simply come out and have faith in the legal process. The uncomfortable prospect that the US might drag him off to be tortured in Guantanamo Bay was never seriously considered.

    This is even referred to again in the extradition judgement, that Assange still has a theoretical right to a fair trial under the US constitution. And yet, judge Baraitser held up the extradition request on the basis that Assange might be subject to 'Special Administrative Measures' in the American supermax gulags. Those are measures which the British judiciary apparently considers an unacceptable for someone who is a suicide risk. So although it's not stated explicitly, the message is that he wouldn't receive humane treatment in the United States.

    Craig Murray described what Assange could expect:

    Fifty square feet. Mark that out yourself now. Three paces by two. Of all the terrible things I heard, Warden Baird explaining that the single hour a day allowed out of the cell is alone in another, absolutely identical cell called the “recreation cell” was perhaps the most chilling. That and the foul government “expert” Dr Blackwood describing how Julian might be sufficiently medicated and physically deprived of the means of suicide to keep him alive for years of this.

    It's not completely over, as the US has the right to appeal, and they probably will do that.
    Also, what happens to Assange now? If he can't be extradited, will he remain imprisoned in Britain?

    • lprent 1.1

      If he can't be extradited, will he remain imprisoned in Britain?

      I believe is what he is only being held on the extradition now. However he is a demonstrated flight risk (Ecuador embassy being a foreign soil).

      It is unlikely that he would get bail. So he will be held until the appeal process is finished. However I suspect that any appeals will be pretty short because the grounds for the US to appeal on are so narrow.

      • Paul Campbell 1.1.1

        Of course the next question is whether once he's released will he be deported to Australia ….. where he could be faced with US extradition again

  2. lprent 2

    That is an interesting decision.

    But she accepted the evidence of prominent medical experts, including details of how Assange had suffered from depression while in prison in London. “The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man who is genuinely depressed about his future,” said Baraitser.

    That I can understand. US prisons, especially the supermax security ones, make ours look really good. He'd be held there for significiant periods, probably years, prior to any trial. Most likely under some kind of debrief and with as much effort to deprive him of good representation and outside contacts as possible.

    Apart from anything else, the case in the US is incredibly weak at multiple levels. Like Ellsberg, I simply can't see that Assange would be able to get a fair trial in the US. That is a view formed based on the persistent violations of their own constitutional and legal protections for their internal dissidents and even just citizens who are perceived as being potential threats. The period after 9/11 were rife with them.

    While the US is probably going to appeal. Their road to being successful in higher courts is limited. Now they'd have to prove in the face of monumental evidence pointing the other way that their penal system isn't a death trap or that Assange isn't highly depressed after being confined for what – 8 years on a charge that seems extremely suspect in US law. Against a foreign national who is accused of acts that were never done in US jurisdiction. They appear to be easily covered by first amendment rights anyway.

    So far the US hasn't had to produce any real evidence to justify their charges apart from grand jury – a process that is so easy for a prosecutor to manipulate because there is literally no defence permitted..

    Hard to claim that he wouldn't be depressed about the prospect of years in durance vile in an arsehole prison compared to the UK while a federal prosecution tries to prepare a case that won't be torn to pieces through their courts.

    The other parts of the decision were harder to agree with.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.1

      "The other parts of the decision were harder to agree with" the other parts I don't any problem not agreeing with at all…still lets just be honest here, establishment power have won, they made an public example of Assange..the message was clear….all supported by MSM media ( omission of news coverage is the same thing…The Guardian, RNZ etc),and never a pep from any of our leaders of course.

      "Press freedom advocates were disappointed in the judgement, saying her acceptance of U.S. contentions that Assange was not engaging in journalistic activity but rather assisting his source, Chelsea Manning, crack into a government computer, as well as possessing and publishing classified material, established a precedent to ensnare journalists doing their job.

      By affirming that journalists can be prosecuted under the U.S. Espionage Act, as well as the British Official Secrets Act, Baraitser handed down a perilous ruling for the future of journalism.

      As the judge agreed on every point with the U.S. indictments of Assange, there is little the United States can appeal other than to argue that Assange is not severely suicidal or that it can be managed, and that its prisons are not the well-established dungeons that they are."

      • Morrissey 2.1.1

        Great Britain has become the Soviet Union of the 1960s: dissent is labelled as mental illness.

        I note that, so far, the King of Nothing, Keir Stürmer, has nothing to offer on this matter. no

      • lprent 2.1.2

        Press freedom advocates were disappointed in the judgement, saying her acceptance of U.S. contentions that Assange was not engaging in journalistic activity

        The judge didn't say that because that would have been based on US constitutional law and was pretty irrelevant for UK law. This was an extradition hearing – not a trial in the US.

        What the judgement said (paraphrasing a bit) was to do with UK/US law equivalence – that the charge made by the US would be a criminal offence if it had happened in the UK jurisdiction. Which given the nature of the Official Secrets Act (and other legislation) in the UK is correct.

        There never has been constitutional freedom of the press in the UK. The OSA overrides the various bits of freedom of press legislation when it comes to assisting a source to obtain secret information. If it was an OSA offence then public interest would only show up in the level of the sentence.

        The only time that there would have been ambiguity between the OSA and the UK press laws would have been if there had been prosecution for publishing or for protection of a source. Neither of which (as I understand it) are charges put before the court.

        It would have been the same here.

        By affirming that journalists can be prosecuted under the U.S. Espionage Act, as well as the British Official Secrets Act, Baraitser handed down a perilous ruling for the future of journalism.

        That is affirming the status quo for the OSA. Baraitser affirmed that the EA was equivalent to the OSA.

        As the judge agreed on every point with the U.S. indictments of Assange

        That was mostly because the US charges have been framed carefully to fit within the current extradition treaty with the UK. Death penalty offences removed. Undertakings made that no other charges would be added to the 18 charges. Nothing matching to possible UK press laws.

        It all looks to have been made high conformance with the extradition treaty with general international extradition law.

        About the only things that had legs would have been political persecution (which I disagree with the judgement about) and inhumane treatment (which the extradition failed on).

        You have to remember that extradition is a pretty mechanical process legally. Think of it as a relatively simple checklist where legal equivalences are of prime importance, with a few other stipulations like fairish trial, political prosecution and inhumane treatment attached.

        This is what allows extradition between countries with quite different legal systems.

  3. Andre 4

    It's really disappointing that the judge didn't find some way to include protecting press freedoms as part of the reason for refusing extradition.

    As it stands, the precedent set is that hiding away out of reach and self-harming while whipping up histrionics from cultists is now the successful way to avoid the grasp of an over-reaching wannabe-authoritarian failed administration trying to suppress press freedom.

    • francesca 4.1

      I would disagree with your characterisation there Andre , putting those who stood up for Assange from the very beginning were not "cultists".

      They were not swayed by the character assassinations going on in the press, and recognised the threats to journalism and free speech from the get go

      And to characterise Assange's current mental health as self harm flies in the face of reports by attending doctors and UN torture experts , who describe deliberate abuse and torture

      I'll take Melzers word before I take your ill informed animus ridden meanness any day

      Had Baraitser agreed to extradition, the appeal could have gone to a higher court, such as eventually the European Court of Human rights, where the staggering deficits in the US case would have been cruelly illuminated.

      Baraitser has not succumbed to the mental health defence, she's chosen it as the lesser evil, thus avoiding more stringent legal focus on the issues.

      So far there has been no precedent set.The US will appeal, dogs with a bone, they'll only let go when the Empire finally has no teeth.

      Jonathan Cook is one of your "cultists"I suspect , having defended Assange from the start.I find his analysis helpful and informed

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/56130.htm

      • Morrissey 4.1.1

        Jonathan Cook is one of your "cultists"I suspect…

        Yes, francesca, you're quite right to suspect that. Our friend's apoplectic denunciations of anyone who dares to question or criticize the crimes of the state have been a regular feature of this site. He treated us to an expletive-filled, foam-flecked rant about Jonathan Cook as recently as Sept. 7th….

        Assange’s torture and the death of journalism

        • Incognito 4.1.1.1

          Do you have any contribution to make to the content of the OP other than criticising other commenters for their past comments?

          • Morrissey 4.1.1.1.1

            As you well know, I have written extensively on the subject of state persecution of journalists. A great deal of that oeuvre is on this fine platform.

            My comment in this case was to support something that francesca said. Was she wrong to challenge Andre's abusive and extravagant term "cultists"?

            • Incognito 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Your comment was crap and started to cross the line of getting personal and flaming.

              Francesca’s comment was engaging, on-topic, and constructive albeit critical, without getting personal.

              You can learn a lot from her.

              None of the above indicates my agreement or disagreement on anything so don’t try to pull me into that, thanks.

              Don’t try my patience!

    • Brigid 4.2

      Your cognitive dissonance is firing well Andre.

      If you'd bothered to read any of the reports of the hearing you'd have realised protecting press freedoms was not in Baraitser's interests.

      Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, is not a cultist nor does he respond to your histrionics real or imagined.

      • Morrissey 4.2.1

        Brigid, you are not a cultist either. Nor is anyone who stands up for the right of journalists and anyone else to expose and criticize the crimes of the state.

  4. Incognito 5

    This is a warning to all:

    Stay on topic. Play the ball, not the man.

    • Morrissey 5.1

      Fair call, Incognito. I take it, however, that we’re permitted to criticize the likes of that hopeless British Labour Party “leader”, whose name escapes me and nearly everyone else.

      I for one will make a strenuous effort to be nice to my colleagues, especially those with whom I occasionally disagree. Best wishes to you, and Andre.

      [lprent: Staying on topic would be more helpful. Only indulging in personal attacks on those who disagree with you  without adding any points of your own apart from (wank wank you’re nasty) is not.

      Being nicer is optional – try adding some content related to the post or what other peoples points are.

      You seem to be adequate criticising points for the RNZ (it is your transcriptions that seem a little fraught) most of the time. Your descriptions of participants tend towards the banal.

      But I’m starting to get somewhat pissed of with your whining. Constrain it or leave. ]

      • Morrissey 5.1.1

        Could you explain how my transcriptions—I have not done any for several months now—are "fraught"? For a long time, they have been word perfect. Do you object to my transcribing every "um" and "ahhh" uttered by unprepared politicians and woolly-minded radio hosts? If so, why?

  5. Nick J 6

    Several years ago I stopped commenting on this site (under another name) primarily because of the abuse defending Assange garnered you from the likes of QOT and other wokesters quoting Feminism 101.

    He was despite no confirmatory evidence deemed a rapist. There are a lot of people out there who would do well to check their consciences, although as indoctrinated cult members I doubt they ever will. Some of us took a lot of flack defending Assange, there is no forgiveness in my heart. All the experience taught me was to implacably defend principles of justice and fair play. Backing down to authoritarians is not an option. Well done all those who spoke for Assange.

    • Morrissey 6.1

      Thanks Nick. Great to see you back again.

    • gsays 6.2

      Good point Nick. I have largely not bothered for much the same reasons. The vitriol sprayed about by folk on what seems, at best, tenuous grounds was surprising.

      The footage released by Wikileaks of the US chopper shooting civilians is still shocking.

      The silence from our media, especially in this environment where the media landscape is fracturing, is surprising. This helps explain why this Assange extradition attempt is going the same way as our SAS and their indiscretions in Afghanistan. Commercial media is there to serve the advertisers not the public.

      The highest public interest information in a generation, was how Nicky Hager described the US Embassy leaks. (From The Fabians link @ the 11 minute mark.)

      • Morrissey 6.2.1

        Commercial media is there to serve the advertisers not the public.

        Quite correct, gsays. Except I would add a couple of elements to your statement: Commercial and publicly funded media are there to serve the advertisers and the government, not the public.

        • Ed 6.2.1.1

          On that point Morrissey, did you ever see John Pilger's film 'The War You Don’t See'? This film used the shocking footage of the Apache gunship in Iraq in 2007. It is a reminder how Wikileaks were a serious threat to the establishment and had ( in the minds of the establishment) to be stopped.

          John Pilger

          We journalists… have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else's country… That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home… In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us… Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power."

          If you are interested, here is the link.

    • Ed 6.3

      Great to see you back, Nick.

      Just listened to Roger Waters being interviewed by George Galloway. This interview was conducted the day before Assange was freed.

      Waters has been a great advocate of Assange, one of the few to speak up on behalf of Julian.

      The interview has been linked below if you are interested, Nick and Morrissey. In it , they speak of the power of the mainstream media and the power of the smear. Later the conversation moves onto a discussion of the values we are inculcated with.

      As Roger tells Galloway, " we must remain true to who were are."

    • Anne 6.4

      Yes, I remember that Nick J. I was one of those who found myself on the receiving end of the hysteria created by some whose minds were closed to any suggestion that the two women who made the claims against Assange may have been less than truthful, and had – more importantly – been "encouraged" by people in high places to lay the complaints. After the hysteria died down the complainants were reported to have withdrawn their claims and, iirc, they indicated there had been consensus involved. That was the point when I started to smell a large rat about the attacks on Assange (who, I might add I never particularly liked) and have seen nothing since to cause me to change my mind.

      Unfortunately, that stand was interpreted by the feminazi in general as being tantamount to supporting rape.

    • McFlock 6.5

      You know this extradition hearing had nothing to do with his alleged sexual assaults, right?

      • Nick J 6.5.1

        McFlock, that sounds disingenuous. The "Assange is a rapist brigade" got played like so many useful idiots by those wanting Assange silenced. Useful idiots is too kind, hardly covers their desire to hang Assange for unproven crimes against wokester feminists.

        To suggest the rape accusations are separate is tenuous at best, malicious and unthinking at worst.

        • McFlock 6.5.1.1

          The dude left Sweden when criminal proceedings for sexual assault were in place (as found by multiple levels of the British judiciary), used all legal avenues available to him to avoid extradition to face those proceedings, and when legal avenues failed he absconded from bail.

          You might like using terms like "wokester feminists" to distract from those facts, but they still have nothing to do with proceedings by the US for allegations of espionage in a legal system that is so bad its conditions got the extradition request declined.

          • Nick J 6.5.1.1.1

            Everything you allege about the rape allegations were disproven, even the "complainants" said so. Yet despite all the evidence of judicial persecution for political purposes the woke brigade chose to heap abuse because of ideological witch hunting fervour. Useful idiots is the kindest description. Id say lower than shark shit. Shame on you.

            [Looks like you didn’t learn much about how TS works last time you were here.

            “Everything you allege about the rape allegations were disproven, even the “complainants” said so”. Citation needed for both those claims of fact. That needs to be a clear quote cut and pasted into a comment, with explanation as necessary and a link. Not a link on its own, I’m not spending my time trying to parse your evidence by reading long links. No videos. Anything less than that and you are banned.

            You also should clarify what you mean by ‘everything’ in relation to McFlock’s comment/s.

            I strongly suggest you review the Policy regarding wasting moderator time, because I have less than zero patience for people running rape apologist lines especially on this topic when they patently failed to grasp what the issues even are. – weka]

            • McFlock 6.5.1.1.1.1

              "disproven", huh.

              Not according to the English or Swedish court hearings in the footnotes of the wikipedia link I gave.

              But the English court system also decided to not extradict him to the US, so you're argument is that they were patently incompetent partisans in the judgments that were against your hero, but wise and sage jurists when their decisions go his way?

            • weka 6.5.1.1.1.2

              mod note for you. You're in premod so I can catch your reply.

              • weka

                just seen your comment below, moderation upgraded to a ban for spray and walk away trolling and two moderators having to waste their time on this.

          • Brigid 6.5.1.1.2

            From your link

            " Assange's London lawyer Mark Stephens said that Assange had asked to be interviewed by prosecutors before leaving Sweden but was told he could leave the country without being interviewed"

            "

            On 16 July 2014, the Stockholm District Court reviewed the detention order on request by Assange. During the course of the proceedings, Assange's defence lawyers said that the prosecutors have a "duty" to advance the case, and that they had shown "passivity" in refusing to go to London to interview Assange.[38] After hearing evidence, the district court concluded that there was probable cause to suspect Assange of committing the alleged crimes, and that the detention order should remain in place.[39]

            In response, Assange's Swedish legal team stated to Radio Sweden: "We still think we have very good legal arguments to get this decision overruled, so we are confident in the result of the appeal. We think the court of appeal can make another decision on the same arguments as the district court."[40] Ecuador immediately issued a statement: "The Ecuadorian Government reaffirms its offer of judicial cooperation to the Kingdom of Sweden, to reach a prompt solution to the case. In this sense Ecuador keeps its invitation to judicial officers visit the London Embassy so that Julian Assange can be interviewed or via videoconference. Both possibilities are explicitly referred in the current procedural legislation in Sweden and the European Union."[41]

            On 20 November 2014, the Swedish Court of Appeal refused Assange's appeal, upholding the 2010 detention order, though at the same time issuing a statement criticising the prosecution for not having done more to advance the case by proceeding with an interrogation of Assange."

            My bold

            • McFlock 6.5.1.1.2.1

              lol yeah reread the bit before the bold…

              • Brigid

                The point I'm making is that the Swedish authorities allowed him to leave and did not advance the proceedings even when the appeal was refused. Why could he so easily cross the Swedish border?

                The authorities twice dropped the charges and twice resurrected them. Why

                • McFlock

                  You're conflating a lot of stuff that's not addressed in your quote, let alone the highlighted portion.

                  ISTR they dropped the case when the statute of limitations was run out for the lesser charges and it looked like he was going to run out the more serious charges. They reviewed that decision when he was kicked out of the embassy, and decided that the more serious charges were less likely to succeed based on the elapsed time affecting the strength of the case.

                  But I'm sure you can look up the specific answers given to all those questions in the periodic regurgitations of Assange stans here who want to believe that because he did some good things Assange must not have ever done anything wrong.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                In 'matters Assange', all parties are 'invested', but some are more heavily invested than others. And some smears are more revealing than others.
                https://nypost.com/2019/04/14/julian-assanges-lawyer-poop-smearing-story-is-total-crap/

                Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you smiley

                April 5, 2010 – WikiLeaks releases leaked video from a U.S. helicopter showing an air strike that killed civilians in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff.

                July 25, 2010 – WikiLeaks releases over 91,000 documents, mostly secret U.S. military reports about the Afghanistan war.

                October, 2010 – WikiLeaks releases 400,000 classified military files chronicling the Iraq war. The next month, it releases thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables, including candid views of foreign leaders and blunt assessments of security threats.

                Nov. 18, 2010 – A Swedish court orders Assange's arrest over rape allegations, which he denies. He is arrested in Britain the next month on a European Arrest Warrant but freed on bail.

                https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/here-s-what-you-need-to-know-about-julian-assange-ahead-of-extradition-ruling-1.5252313

                Well, Goodness Gracious Me!
                Goodness gracious,
                How audacious!
                Goodness gracious,
                How flirtatious!
                Goodness gracious,
                It is me.
                It is you?
                Ah, I'm sorry, it is US.
                Ahhh!

                Julian Assange in Limbo – Patrick Cockburn (18 June 2020)

                The charges​ that Assange will face in the US if he is extradited are all to do with putting the US and its informants in danger. But public perceptions of him are largely shaped, in one way or another, by his status as a rape suspect. Some dismiss the accusations, which they believe concocted or unjust. Others believe he should have been tried for sexual assault and that an exception cannot be made merely because Assange is an avatar of press freedom. Among those who have supported him are Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff, two spokespeople for Women against Rape, who in 2012 published an article opposing his extradition to Sweden on the grounds that the judicial process had been ‘corrupted’ and justice ‘denied both to accusers and accused’: the women involved had been ‘trashed’ on the internet because Swedish prosecutors failed to protect their anonymity; Assange was being ‘dealt with by much of the media as if he were guilty, though he has not even been charged’.

                [deleted]

                [overly long quote truncated]

                • McFlock

                  If you think they're out to get you, don't go running into the arms of "their" closest ally.

                  Your timeline shows the fanboi priorities. Nothing about the complaints, ongoing investigation, request for a second interview coincidentally just before he left Sweden with not time for his lawyer to inform him of the request.

                  Apparently, if you piss off the americans enough that gives you two free passes to avoid trial for sexual assault, no questions asked.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    If you think they're out to get you, don't go running into the arms of "their" closest ally.

                    Everyone makes mistakes, apparently, even "Saint Julian". Which do you reckon was Assange's bigger mistake – accepting an offer of asylum in Ecuador’s UK embassy, or publishing "hundreds of thousands of classified documents between 2010 and 2011, including the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs."

                    He's still paying for both mistakes.
                    https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/julian-assange-s-fight-for-freedom-is-far-from-over-1.1543805

                    Enough already, in the humble opinion of this "fanboi" (it’s not my timeline any more than it’s “your timeline“), but that could be my mistake – after all, if Sarah Palin now thinks he should be pardoned…

                    I made a mistake some years ago, not supporting Julian Assange – thinking that he was a bad guy,” Palin said on social media. “And I’ve learned a lot since then … He deserves a pardon.

                    “History has shown us that it is vital to the health of our democracy that journalists are able to publish information that discloses government wrongdoing or mistakes of policy. The discomfort and embarrassment of exposed government officials does not outweigh the importance of bringing to light matters that are of profound interest to the public.”

                    So spoke candidate Joseph Biden in 2019 when asked to comment on the case of Julian Assange. Assange is an award-winning journalist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and chief publisher of WikiLeaks, a news organization dedicated to revealing truth.

                    Bloody Biden – what a “fanboi“.

                    • Andre

                      Did Palin specify why she thinks Assange deserves a pardon? Is it because he worked so hard to get the Papaya Palputin into the Oval Office? (leaving aside the question of whether finding oneself on the same side as Palin should be grounds for a serious rethink)

                      Anyways, accepting a pardon carries with it the acceptance of guilt. Accepting a pardon for publishing evidence of war misconduct would be accepting that doing so was wrong – which it isn't by any decent moral code.

                      It's not within the power of any US official to pardon Assange for shoving his cock into women's bodies in ways that were explicitly not consented to, since these alleged acts occurred in Sweden, nor for going on the run from legitimate UK authorities.

                    • Morrissey

                      leaving aside the question of whether finding oneself on the same side as Palin should be grounds for a serious rethink.

                      So, given that you are on the same side as Pompeo, Bolton, McConnell, and Scott Morrison, can we take it that you will be seriously rethinking your own position?

                    • Andre

                      @mozzie: I realise your reading comprehension level is somewhere around "See Spot Run", but as an exercise to try to lift it to maybe "Where the Wild Thing Are", how about actually reading my comments and try to work out what my position actually is.

                    • Andre

                      Obama and Holder reportedly reached the conclusion in 2013 that it was not in the US interest to go after Assange because of the "New York Times problem" – the chilling effect it would have on journalism. That conclusion was widely reported at the time.

                      So if Assange were 1/100 the courageous champion of transparency his cultists and apparently he himself think he is (and the likes of Manning, Snowden, Winner etc really are), he could have left the embassy at that time. There was just the matter of the rape and sexual assault allegations in Sweden, of course.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    @Andre (9:31 am) – Palin made that comment about a month ago. As to why, in her own words "And I’ve learned a lot since then…"; others can gauge whether the speculations and labels (“cultists“; “fanboi“) emanating from members of the ‘kick Assange while he’s down club‘ are valid or simply self-serving.

                    In order for Assange to accept a pardon for "shoving his cock into women's bodies in ways that were explicitly not consented to", such a pardon would first have to be offered, but I'll pardon your conflation.

                    Some people never learn.

                    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – Santayana

                    • Andre

                      So what's a reasonable outcome for the case that might help protect press rights?

                      At this stage, the best that can be hoped for is the Biden administration quietly dropping the extradition case. That would leave in place all of Baraitser's opinions on the validity of extradition for Assange's alleged hacking assistance to Manning, as well as the opinions on how Assange would have violated the OSA, and how Wikileaks' failure to redact sensitive personal information separated their activity from legitimate journalism.

                      The Biden administration could, in theory, make an announcement about dropping the case with a statement along the lines of what Biden has already said about the value and legitimacy of exposing uncomfortable secrets. That certainly would help protect press freedom, but it's probably a bit much to hope for.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Julian Assange in Limbo – Patrick Cockburn (18 June 2020)

                Having undertaken a detailed review of judicial proceedings against Assange, he [Melzer, UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment] concluded that ‘since 2010, the Swedish prosecution appears to [have done] everything to maintain the unqualified “rape suspect” narrative’ without progress being made or any charges issued: this was ‘procedural procrastination’.

                Melzer describes an investigation that was politicised from the moment on 20 August 2010 that two women, then known only as AA and SW, went to a police station in Stockholm ‘to inquire whether Mr Assange could be compelled to take an HIV test’. Within hours, ‘the Swedish prosecution ordered the arrest of Mr Assange and informed the tabloid newspaper Expressen that he was suspected of having raped two women.’

                • McFlock

                  two women, then known only as AA and SW, went to a police station in Stockholm ‘to inquire whether Mr Assange could be compelled to take an HIV test’. Within hours, ‘the Swedish prosecution ordered the arrest of Mr Assange

                  You might want to check that timeline, too. And they're your links that you are using to argue your position, so you might want to confirm they don't have misleading omissions. But I suppose "hundreds of hours" is still "within hours". Part of Assange's case against extradition to Sweden was that he hadn't been charged or arrested. so criminal proceedings hadn't begun. I mean, it was bullshit, but the EAW was the first attempt to arrest because of differences between UK and Swedish procedure.

                  Which you'd know if you actually read the previous discussions in the last ten years, rather than looking for random links you agree with.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Which you'd know if you actually read the previous discussions in the last ten years, rather than looking for random links you agree with.

                    McFlock – I genuinely believe that I've read most of "the previous [Assange-related] discussions in the last ten years", and that the Assange-related articles I've chosen to link to here are not random, so we must agree to disagree (OK?)

                    While I don't know Nils Melzer, I choose to trust his (in my opinion expert) opinion that Assange has been the target of a propaganda campaign, although I concede the possibility that he has been duped.

                    It is very much to Melzer’s credit that he admits that he was himself initially taken in by the propaganda campaign. He reveals that, in December 2018, he was asked by Assange’s lawyers to intervene. He declined:

                    I was overloaded with other petitions and wasn’t really familiar with the case. My impression, largely influenced by the media, was also colored by the prejudice that Julian Assange was somehow guilty and that he wanted to manipulate me.

                    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO2002/S00093/un-special-rapporteur-on-torture-demolishes-the-fake-claims-targeting-julian-assange.htm

                    • Incognito

                      Yes, agree to disagree seems to be the only logical way out. Only a Court can determine the veracity of any claims or accusations beyond reasonable doubt although even that might be pushing it in this particular case.

                      So, please give this topic or aspect a rest or take it to OM, if you must 🙁

    • xanthe 6.6

      I also copped a month ban for pointing out that neither "complainant" had alleged rape. Over this issue this site has an opportunity for an examination of its moderation policies, how they can and do protect the bullying of commenter's and group blindness. Not holding my breath for this, probably just another opportunity lost

    • weka 6.7

      Has there been anything in the past few days about the judgement that suggest anything about Assange being a rapist or not? Making out that this judgement somehow proves that Assange didn't rape two women in Sweden is bullshit politicking and it doesn't help the pro-Assange cause.

      What it does is reaffirm that there are still left wing people, usually men, who believe that it was/is impossible to consider the rapes might be real even if Assange has otherwise done good things in the world. Worse, the narrative that Assange's right to legal justice has been seen as inherently incompatible with the rights of women's justice. Not that this is a surprise, left wing men still have some way to go when it comes to feminism and the general culture more so.

      My main memory from those arguments on TS back in the day is that women's right to sexual safety and sovereignty was being thrown under a bus by left wing men who insisted on framing the women as liars because Assange must be free.

      Also, the left wing men who got a sharp wake up call when they were presented with the legislation that says it's illegal for a man to have sex with a woman while she is asleep. In NZ. Yes, NZ left wing men were arguing that this act was ok and didn't realise it was in fact illegal.

      That is the crux of it, that women's politics and wellbeing will always be forced into second place in lw politics that are dominated by men where there is a conflict of interest, and where there is no active commitment to end rape culture. So much could be written about that, pity we don't have any feminist authors free to do this here.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 6.7.1

        Has there been anything in the past few days about the judgement that suggest anything about Assange being a rapist or not?

        Don't know of any Weka – the (more than ten-year) uncertainty over Assange's 'rapist status' is set to continue.

        Assange is not the only 'celebrity' in this category (uncertain rapist status). Others have suggested that his rapist status has been subjected to more political ‘influence’ than others such as film and sports 'stars', but who really knows, or wants to know?

        [deleted]
        The women, who never accused Assange of rape, wanted him to take an STD test. They had approached the police about compelling him to comply. “I did not want to put any charges on Julian Assange,” texted one of them on August 20 while she was still at the police station, but “the police were keen on getting their hands on him.” She said she felt “railroaded by the police.
        [deleted]

        https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/01/05/empire-not-done-julian-assange

        [comment edited for clarity, see my reply below – weka]

        • McFlock 6.7.1.1

          If only there were some system where disinterested public officials, experts in the law, could moderate a discussion by representatives for both sides of the question, such that either the moderator or a group of ordinary people could reach a determination on the facts and legal questions based upon the evidence for the individual matter. And if they conclude that it is unreasonable to believe that the person is not a rapist, then that determination could be announced publicly so everyone would know the person is a rapist.

          Oh! "Court". The thing that would largely resolve this uncertainty is a "court".

          • Drowsy M. Kram 6.7.1.1.1

            So trusting on Assange's behalf – if only you'd been advising him laugh

            • McFlock 6.7.1.1.1.1

              If I wanted to advise him on evading either legitimate sexual assault charges or a show trial on behalf of the yanks, I would have advised him to head East, not West.

              Like the other dude – head to the yank's enemies, not their closest allies.

          • weka 6.7.1.1.2

            quite.

            Thanks for the mahi yet again McFlock.

            • McFlock 6.7.1.1.2.1

              Go over something enough, the relevant search terms and links are easily remembered lol

        • weka 6.7.1.2

          I've taken the unusual step of deleting most of that cut and paste, and I'm going to explain why.

          The author is claiming that women didn't want Assange charged. If you google the bits he quotes, you will find that they are quotes of what Assange claimed they said in his legal proceedings. They're not quotes from the women themselves.

          The ABC has not seen the text messages.

          Mr Assange detailed notes taken by his lawyers at a Swedish police station after they were allowed to read text messages sent between SW and AA – the two women who made allegations against the WikiLeaks founder.

          https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/319883/assange-says-texts-show-he-is-innocent-of-rape

          My problem here is that in these conversations people will quote opinion pieces that obscure the evidence and support the narrative that the women lied. There is no way to know if Assange raped those women or not. So it begs the question of why so many left wing people, usually men, are willing to misuse the information available to support the assertion that there was no rape.

          None of what I have said precludes the US interfering for political reasons.

          We've had so many conversations on TS where this same low level of argument about Assange and the victims is presented and the onus is put back onto women to go do the work of defending, again, our right to not live in rape culture. I'm trying to be restrained here because it's not my post, but honestly, there is a direct line between these conversations and why TS has been unable to retain feminist authors. Direct. It also affects women commenters and probably readers. Why should women, or rape victims bother being in this space if the same tired old rape culture lines are going to be trotted out forever? It's tedious as fuck, and as an author and mod it's gutting that after all these years we are still in this same stupid place. I don't have the spoons or the patience to read all the arguments here, but I'm still moderating and I'm not going to let the site be wallpapered with rape apology again. You are free to put your arguments and your opinions, you can even say that you believed that the women lied, but in terms of presenting back up for claims of fact, people are going to have up their game.

          TL;DR, you can support Assange's right to freedom and not throw women under the bus at the same time.

          • xanthe 6.7.1.2.1

            Weka you are wrong! neither complainant alleged rape I am not going to post a link now because i backed this statement up with a factual link on this site the last time i made it. If you want to argue the point go to the link I provided last time which you did not do! and then we will discuss the details. As for your comment above I now will set out why it should not have been removed by moderation as soon as published.

            "Has there been anything in the past few days about the judgement that suggest anything about Assange being a rapist or not? Making out that this judgement somehow proves that Assange didn't rape two women in Sweden is bullshit politicking and it doesn't help the pro-Assange cause."

            This is known as a "straw man' argument where you postulate a stance that was not being proposed and then shoot it down. Straw man arguments are DISHONEST.

            "What it does is reaffirm that there are still left wing people, usually men, who believe that it was/is impossible to consider the rapes might be real even if Assange has otherwise done good things in the world. Worse, the narrative that Assange's right to legal justice has been seen as inherently incompatible with the rights of women's justice. Not that this is a surprise, left wing men still have some way to go when it comes to feminism and the general culture more so."

            sexist attack founded on the preceding dishonest "straw man" assertion deteriorating onto generalized personal attack.

            "My main memory from those arguments on TS back in the day is that women's right to sexual safety and sovereignty was being thrown under a bus by left wing men who insisted on framing the women as liars because Assange must be free."

            Your memory is simply wrong in this.

            "Also, the left wing men who got a sharp wake up call when they were presented with the legislation that says it's illegal for a man to have sex with a woman while she is asleep. In NZ. Yes, NZ left wing men were arguing that this act was ok and didn't realise it was in fact illegal."

            Eeeeeekk a generalized slur unproven, unprovable, and irrelevant

            "That is the crux of it, that women's politics and wellbeing will always be forced into second place in lw politics that are dominated by men where there is a conflict of interest, and where there is no active commitment to end rape culture. So much could be written about that, pity we don't have any feminist authors free to do this here."

            Personal opinion unhelpful, irrelevant

            That post should not have been published in the first place, should have been removed at first opportunity. and I fail to see how it was intended to further discourse. It appears rather as bullying, browbeating, polarising sexist crap without any factual basis

            [if you want to retain your commenting privileges you will provide a link. I looked at your most recent comments and I can’t see it. Asserting ‘X is a fact and I posted evidence once’ doesn’t meet the standard of robust debate here on such a controversial topic. Please provide the link when next you comment – weka]

            • weka 6.7.1.2.1.1

              mod note.

            • weka 6.7.1.2.1.2

              you missed the point. Irrespective of what the women have said or haven't said, or what JA did or didn't do, the link provided by DMK was misleading. Intentionally so by the author imo, because of the reasons I explained (left wing men using rape apology to support their politics).

              • xanthe

                OK here is a statement by

                Professor Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,

                who on behalf of the United Nations fully examined available evidence. He sets out the relevant evidence here

                https://medium.com/@njmelzer/response-to-open-letter-of-1-july-2019-7222083dafc8

                and makes the following comment

                "Though the tone of my critique may be harsh, it does not aim at the women, but at the gross arbitrariness of the “rape” narrative, which has been wrongly imposed by zealous officials not only on Assange, but also on the two concerned women themselves, and on the general public. The State not only ignored the women’s own experience and interpretation of events, but also consistently declined to take the necessary measures which would have allowed advancing this matter beyond the stage of preliminary investigation"

                But please read the whole thing before you rush back to print

          • Drowsy M. Kram 6.7.1.2.2

            "you can support Assange's right to freedom and not throw women under the bus at the same time."

            "There is no way to know if Assange raped those women or not."

            Agreed – given the verifiable facts available to us now there is no way for us to know. If Assange is guilty of (multiple) rape(s), then I would speculate that the fact he has denied his guilt and not faced a charge of rape in court will have caused and may still be causing his victim(s) grief/hurt and frustration/anger.

            Ryser's Jan. 2020 interview of Nils Melzer ( A murderous system is being created before our very eyes ) helped me form opinions, but Melzer's just one expert – Anna A. and others have suggested that (some of) Melzer's statements are "both legally absurd and harmful in relation to sexual violence".

            Rape (or not) aside, Assange has 'issues' (who doesn't), but some smears in the MSM seemed OTT to me. I was curious about the true origin(s) of those smears – maybe we'll never know that either.

            The Stalinist Trial of Julian Assange – Whose Side Are You On
            I have been a reporter for more than 50 years and I have never known a smear campaign like it: the fabricated character assassination of a man who refused to join the club: who believed journalism was a service to the public, never to those above.

  6. Nick J 7

    McFlock, you confirm the reason I left this site. I will again leave you to your squalid fetid opinions. Goodbye, good riddance.

  7. Kerry 8

    Send him to Russia…thats where all traitors end up.

    • Morrissey 8.1

      ???? How does exposing massive crimes make a journalist a traitor? Are Woodward and Bernstein traitors?

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        An Aussie can't be a traitor to the US, either.

        • Andre 8.1.1.1

          Sorry, but you've roused my inner pedant.

          Being an Aussie is no obstacle to being a traitor to the US. They could be working for the US government, or serving in the US Armed Forces. All they need is permanent residency. Hell, even working for private companies could probably get you access to situations where you do things that are traitorous to the US.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.1

            Fair call – although I don't recall either of those applying to Assange, either.

            Funnily enough, read about that just recently in some books about MI5/6 during WW2. "Lord Haw Haw", the Irish propagandist for Nazi Germany, got done for treason even though he was Irish because he'd obtained a British passport in the 1930s so he could visit Nazi Germany. Even though he didn't qualify for the passport and obtained it with false information, he was still found to have committed treason because obtaining the passport put him under the protection and duties of the crown. He was the last person executed for treason in the UK.

            They had to rush through additional penalties for "treachery" to deal with Nazi spies and saboteurs – the espionage legislation didn't quite cover them either (and didn't have the death penalty ISTR). So "treachery" was shorthand for "sneaky bastard" in 1940, for the duration.

            • McFlock 8.1.1.1.1.1

              addendum: what actually got haw-haw hung was that his first broadcasts from Germany were made something like three weeks before his British passport expired.

              If he'd waited a month, he would just have become the 1950s equivalent of a Fox News "contributor"

      • Stuart Munro 8.1.2

        Assange has, during the course of these events, done more than one thing.

        Yes, he exposed some war crimes – the Manning material.

        He also leaked a lot of privileged diplomatic correspondence of no apparent public benefit beyond titillation. The extent of Russian corruption was public domain already, without needing to embarrass the wretched staffers who are obliged to front them.

        There are concerns about his relations with Swedish women, but, having effectively been imprisoned much longer than any such conviction in that jurisdiction would have got him, I'm inclined to set them aside.

        And Wikileaks became a vehicle for releasing material to further the interests of some states, notably Russia.

        The journalistic integrity argument would have been stronger had he given the second and fourth items more thought.

  8. Morrissey 9

    So why do some "liberals" ridicule and traduce political dissenters?

    It's not by accident that radio chatterers (Jim Mora, Caitlin Cherry, Denise L'Estrange-Corbet, Graham Bell, Chris Trotter, Sean Plunket) and politicians like the Australian prime minister chortle at the suffering of Julian Assange, and repeat black propaganda about him. Noam Chomsky and Alice Walker reminded us of this back in September last year…

    Assange is not on trial for skateboarding in the Ecuadorian embassy, for tweeting, for calling Hillary Clinton a war hawk, or for having an unkempt beard as he was dragged into detention by British police. Assange faces extradition to the United States because he published incontrovertible proof of war crimes and abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan, embarrassing the most powerful nation on Earth. Assange published hard evidence of “the ways in which the first world exploits the third”, according to whistleblower Chelsea Manning, the source of that evidence. Assange is on trial for his journalism, for his principles, not his personality.

    You’ve probably heard the refrain from well-meaning pundits: “You don’t have to like him, but you should oppose threats to silence him.” But that refrain misses the point by reinforcing the manipulative tropes deployed against Assange.

    When setting a gravely dangerous precedent, governments don’t typically persecute the most beloved individuals in the world. They target those who can be portrayed as subversive, unpatriotic – or simply weird. Then they actively distort public debate by emphasizing those traits.

    These techniques are not new. After Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to journalists to expose the US government’s lies about Vietnam, the Nixon administration’s “White House Plumbers” broke into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office in search of material that could be used to discredit him. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was falsely portrayed as collaborating with the Chinese, then the Russians. Obsession with military intelligence analyst Manning’s mental health and gender identity was ubiquitous. By demonizing the messenger, governments seek to poison the message.

    The prosecution will be all too happy when coverage of Assange’s extradition hearing devolves into irrelevant tangents and smears. It matters little that Assange’s beard was the result of his shaving kit having been confiscated, or that reports of Paul Manafort visiting him in the embassy were proven to be fabricated. By the time these petty claims are refuted, the damage will be done. At best, public debate over the real issues will be derailed; at worst, public opinion will be manipulated in favour of the establishment. …

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/julian-assange-trial-us-trump-chelsea-manning-chomsky-walker-b420930.html

    [I detect the faint smell of personal bias with a slight hint of ad hommery.

    The quoted text did not answer the question you posed. I won’t ask you for evidence that the all of the people you singled out “chortle[d] at the suffering of Julian Assange” because it will open the floodgates to numerous transcripts containing the word “chortle” added by you, which is more than I can stomach right now. It comes across as a low ‘excuse’ for you to have another go at those named individuals, something you have form with 🙁

    Given the utterly unproductive course this has taken I now instruct you too to cease mentioning the rape charges against Assange even when another commenter is stupid enough to continue engaging with you on this particularly toxic topic; I will deal with them separately.

    Failing to follow this instruction will see you banned permanently from this site – Incognito]

    • Andre 9.1

      Just outta curiosity since that piece ignores the Swedish allegations, do you know what Chomsky and Walker's views are on those? Are they in the 'the women are liars and the allegations are fake' camp? Or do they tend more towards the 'his publications earned him some freebie rapes' view?

      • gsays 9.1.1

        This OP is about the extradition attempts of Assange, MSM failings/silence on the whole affair and treatment that borders on torture.

        The Swedish allegations could be traversed on Open Mike or elsewhere.

        Leave the fanbois and cultists to it.

    • Incognito 9.2

      See my Moderation note @ 3:49 PM.

  9. Morrissey 10

    Nobody says the women, who almost immediately realized that they were being manipulated by that splendid human being Marianne Ny, were or are liars. The liars are the state actors seeking to entrap this dissenter. Chomsky and Walker are serious people, and do not suffer fools or scoundrels lightly. They understandably did not comment on these fantastical allegations.

    • Andre 10.1

      The allegations are a key part of the whole issue, since they started the sequence of events that led to the situation we now have. If Chomsky and Walker haven't expressed an opinion, that looks like craven cowardice, and a disqualification for their opinions on other aspects to be taken seriously.

      The allegation that the women were manipulated implies they were unable to form and express views of their own. Just another form of denial, and rape culture.

      • Gabby 10.1.1

        Noice troy , that might be your disparaging inference, but it implies nothing of the sort. All sorts of ppl get manipulated despite being able to form and express views of their own.

        • McFlock 10.1.1.1

          Manipulted how? Were they manipulated into going to the police and detailing acts of sexual assault?

          Seems to me the "they only wanted an HIV test" argument is an argument that a legitimate case of sexual assault was pursued even though the people who made the complaint didn't want a full trial. A claim which is at odds with their lawyer requesting a review of the decision to terminate parts of the invetigation, anyway.

          • In Vino 10.1.1.1.1

            I don't know for certain, McFlock, but have there never been any baseless, malicious rape accusations?

            It seemed to me from the start that these accusations were just in time to suit a certain politically suspect agenda, then never became much more than nebulous when real, grunty justification was needed.

            • McFlock 10.1.1.1.1.1

              There have also been many egotistical celebrities who committed sexual assaults.

              Assange's team argued all about it being a US planned political prosecution when he went through the extradition process the first time.

              The same legal process that has declined his extradition this time felt his defence the first time was a load of bunk.

              In lieu of perfect knowledge, most countries have courts and criminal justice systems. The british courts feel the yank system isn't fair and reliable, but that the Swedish one is.

      • Morrissey 10.1.2

        The allegation that the women were manipulated…

        As I stated, they "almost immediately realized that they were being manipulated." They then made it quite clear they wanted nothing to do with the Swedish authorities' incompetent and flawed stalking of this quarry on behalf of the U.K. and U.S. regimes.

        …implies they were unable to form and express views of their own.

        I implied no such thing. They were indeed able to form and express views of their own. They were aware of what the authorities were doing.

        Just another form of denial, and rape culture.

        So Alice Walker and Noam Chomsky, and Daniel Ellsberg, and Tulsi Gabbard, and Vivienne Westwood, and John Pilger, and Nicky Hager, and many female commenters on this site and indeed everyone who has inspected and rejected these absurd allegations and who speak out for this dissenting journalist are deeply into "rape culture"?

        https://theintercept.com/2017/05/19/sweden-halts-assange-rape-investigation-wikileaks-founder-still-faces-arrest-uk/

        • Andre 10.1.2.1

          From your Intercept link:

          Looks to me like the victim formed a firm opinion that Assange committed a crime that he should be held accountable for, but that he escaped justice by running out the clock. McFlock has linked just a few comments upthread to where one of the victims objected to the investigation being closed and wanted it reopened. That's the exact opposite of your evidence-free assertion " They then made it quite clear they wanted nothing to do with the Swedish authorities' incompetent and flawed stalking of this quarry on behalf of the U.K. and U.S. regimes."

          What has Nicky Hager said about the rape allegations? Link please

          What has Noam Chomsky said about the rape allegations? Link please

          What have any of the other names you've dropped in your logically fallacious appeal to authority had to say about the rape allegations? Links please.

          As far as I can tell, the few of your authorities that have any credibility have taken the cowards path of studiously ignoring the existence of the rape and sexual assault allegations (the reason Assange was hiding out in the embassy, remember) and restricted themselves to comments on the press freedom issues.

  10. aj 11

    Presidential pardons of convicted war criminals demonstrate how twisted the concept of justice has become, when set against the persecution of Assange.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/01/04/military-veterans-to-legal-experts-condemn-trumps-pardoning-of-blackwater-war-criminals/

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